Family, Self

11 Useful Antidotes For Loneliness, Grief & Being Generally Overwhelmed By Life

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Eleven Antidotes for Loneliness, Grief and Life-Overload

The holidays can be a difficult and emotional time for many people, especially when they’re alone. Grief from the loss of a loved one or a job or a home can feel even more overwhelming at this time of year, especially when everyone else seems to be celebrating with family and friends.

If you're withdrawing from your life or feel like giving up on the world in general — which certainly seems crazier and more chaotic than ever before — know that you are not alone. You may even be criticizing yourself for feeling lonely and unmotivated, whether or not you’ve suffered losses or downturns this past year. 

But your life is worth living and living well. You are truly an original — no one else in the history of the world has been or will ever be like you!

Since you’re reading this article, I trust you're actively seeking a way to short-circuit the overwhelm of grief, loss, or general life stress. This common emotional and mental downward spiral often leads to ongoing isolation or even clinical depression if left unchecked.

If your overwhelmed feelings have been leading you to spend more time by yourself, give away things you used to love or avoid people you used to enjoy, I invite you to try any or all of these simple — and fun — "antidotes".

See which ones reignite your connection with your own life and hopefully the people in it as well.

RELATED: 7 Signs You're Suffering From Chronic Loneliness

(If you need clinical help, however, please seek out therapists or other mental health professionals. There are many YourTango Experts who are licensed therapists and would be glad to help you!)

Here are 11 ways on how to deal with loneliness, grief, and life stress:

1. Commit to a cause.

This may seem impossible when you're feeling alone, but it's amazing how reaching out to someone you already know who could use a helping hand or sympathetic ear can change your focus and feelings quickly and powerfully.

You could also volunteer with a charity or cause you support, especially one in your own community like a local library, food bank, hospital, or senior center.

2. Go to a spa.

You deserve care and pampering, especially when you feel exhausted or emotionally drained. Schedule a day, weekend or at least an evening just for yourself to relax and recharge. 

You can go to a local spa or create one for yourself at home based on your budget, available time, and relaxation preferences. Be sure to do things that feel, smell, and even taste great. Cook yourself a delicious meal, get a facial, mani-pedi or massage, or take a long hot bubble bath while your favorite music plays to soothe your soul.

3. Write a letter to your life.

Your life is your constant partner — it deserves some gratitude! Write your life a letter describing what you love about it. 

You might also write about what you would like to improve in your future together (not regrets from your past). Re-read this letter once a week and feel free to add to it ongoing.

4. Take your "vitamin fun".

Most people are deficient in what I call "Vitamin Fun."  We work hard and take care of others, which drains our energy-reserves. But there's no excuse for not taking time to replenish our own energy as often as possible — then we'll have energy for ourselves and others.

At least twice a month, make sure you get your dose of "Vitamin Fun" so you'll always have enough energy to be who you are and do what you do! 

Make a list of fun activities you can share with a friend, or join a Meetup where you can find other like-minded people who enjoy going to movies, art museums, new restaurants, sporting events, or just exploring your neighborhood or city. 

If you have time, go away for a weekend to a place you've always wanted to visit and check that off your bucket-list.

5. Adopt a pet or plant.

If you can have pets in your house or apartment, adopt one to be a companion for you. It could be a goldfish, turtle, bird, or small lizard if you can't live with a dog or a cat.  You can also volunteer to walk dogs or play with pets awaiting adoption at a local shelter. 

If an animal friend doesn't fit within your space or budget, you can buy an orchid or another flowering plant to brighten and add more life to your home or office space. You can even name it as it's a living "companion" even if it stays in one place!

6. Organize your environment.

A living or work environment that's overwhelmed can't help but add to your sense of life-overwhelm. If you're like most people, your home and office can probably use organizing and refreshing. Utilize whatever time you have available, even if it's just 15 minutes — set a timer and see how much you can get done. 

You can clean out or reorganize just one drawer or shelf — you don't have to tackle the whole mess at once! As you let go of what's old and make room for something new, it will literally shift your energy — one box or drawer at a time.

You might test out Marie Kondo's "magic" method for tidying up by keeping only what "sparks joy" when you look at or hold it. Before you toss or give away anything that no longer fits, serves you or is useful, thank it for its service — this helped me let go of lots of things I'd accumulated over 40 years while I was downsizing my home!

RELATED: 7 Easy Steps to Get Rid Of Stuff (Even When You Think You Just Can't Do It)

7. Learn new things.

When you're a beginner at something, you can't be good at it so you can just have fun and experiment. 

Find a local class which teaches something you've been thinking about or just sounds like fun — cooking or knife skills, drawing or coloring, knitting or crocheting, coding or building an app, taking photos, or gardening. 

8. Appreciate people in your life.

Think about the people who have helped or influenced you — both those who are known by you as well as those you don't personally know (you've seen them on TV or read their books). 

If possible, mail or email them "thank you" notes about why they inspire you and what you’ve learned from them. You can also write a testimonial for them to use on their website or blog. Write at least one "thank you notes" each week and see how expressing your gratitude brings more things and people you can be grateful for into your life.

9. Change just one thing. 

Sometimes all you need to do is change one little thing to shake up your routine and lift your spirits. 

It can be as simple as getting up a bit earlier or later than usual, eating something for breakfast (or another meal) that you don’t usually eat, brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, rearranging some furniture or decorative items in your home or office, driving down a different street to work or somewhere you go frequently.

When we get in a rut, our energy shrinks; when we stir things up by doing them differently, it expands.

10. Get spiritual.

Doing anything that feels spiritual and connected to "life's big picture" puts our problems and feelings in a clearer perspective. Spiritual activities don't need to be religious, however. Anything that's positive and uplifting counts.

But being spiritual gets strengthened by being "in the community." You can meditate or chant with a group, attend an inspiring Sunday or weeknight service, an uplifting talk or book signing, or find spiritually-focused Meetups where you can connect with others who want to live from a positive perspective too.

11. Start a blog.

Your unique perspective and life story is the only one of its kind. Feel free to tell it, even if no one reads it — it is always therapeutic for you to write it! You can start by writing about the "antidotes" you’re trying out from the list above. 

Describe how experi menting with them makes you feel and what you’re learning. By sharing your experiences and insights, you are likely to inspire others as well as see the good in your life now!

RELATED: How To Be Alone (Without Being Lonely)

Barbara Schiffman is a Life&Soul Synergy Coach. To refresh your life, embrace your past and empower your future, check out her YourLifeandSoul website for info on her upcoming Healing Telegatherings and Ecourses.